I’m sure that a lot of you have heard the saying, “pressure is a privilege” I know I have…many times. I remember talking to my parents about being really nervous before games because I felt all this pressure to do well. They never said that ‘pressure was a privilege’ outright, but they used to tell me all the time that it was OK to be nervous, that nerves were normal, it wasn’t a bad thing to want to do well, that being nervous didn’t change my ability. But it definitely impacted me on the ice.
For a few years, late in high school and early in college, my nerves got the best of me 50% of the time. I was either great or terrible. When I think back on it now, I know that it’s because I had this idea in my mind that I was nervous because I wasn’t ready; if I was ready then I shouldn’t be nervous.
What I know now is that’s not the case at all. If you’re nervous it means you care! You may care about the outcome, the teammates in your locker room, the people in the stands watching—and all of that is a-OK. But, if you want to use that nervous energy to propel you forward, you need to understand that you are responsible for reigning that energy into areas of focus that you can control.
You can’t control your teammates, you can’t control the outcome, and you can’t control the fans. If you’re focused on these things, it’s only going to multiply your anxiety and push you into that realm of too much nervous energy.
Pressure is a privilege because it means that you care deeply about something you’re doing. And that’s amazing. But you have to remember that it’s on you to make sure that you’re keying into the things you are about that you have control over!
Lauren Williams | High Performance Coach